Besides training camp, what was the first thing you did when you got to Los Angeles?
Essence: The first thing I did was move into my apartment and chill for a few hours before getting enough energy to go to the grocery store and run some errands. Nothing too fun, though.
After playing your entire professional career in New York, how difficult was it to leave and move to the West Coast?
Essence: It was a challenge leaving, especially once you get comfortable somewhere. It’s a lot like a breakup, but when the next opportunity comes along it’s like butterflies and daisies all over again.
What excites you most about coming to play for the Sparks?
Essence: It’s a fresh start. We have a great chance of competing for a championship here, and I have a great opportunity to contribute on the court.
What kind of pre-existing relationships did you have with some of the current Sparks players before arriving at training camp?
Essence: Candace [Parker] and I played together when we were younger for a couple of Team USA basketball squads. Jantel [Lavendar] and I have been friends for a while, and we hung out a lot in Turkey since we both played overseas there. So I know a couple of people here already.
Does knowing some of your teammates beforehand make it easier to hit the ground running from the start of training camp?
Essence: It does, but even if I didn’t know them initially, the fact that they are such great people makes it easier. It is just so easy when you come to a team with great women who are willing to help with anything, even if it’s something as simple as finding a place to eat. I appreciate little things like that.
This season is the WNBA’s 20th year, what is one of your favorite memories of the league to this point?
Essence: My favorite memory so far would be my All-Star experience. I would love to say that my favorite experience was winning a championship, but that has not happened yet. Hopefully, we will make that happen this year.
What is something that Sparks fans might not know about you off the court?
Essence: I am a musician and play four instruments: the piano, saxophone, bass and drums. I started music when I was nine, so technically that was before I started basketball.
What can Sparks fans expect to see from you on the court?
Essence: I definitely hope to bring my brand of “East Coast basketball”, which involves a solid mid-range game and explosiveness. Hopefully, it fits the puzzle and was the missing piece for this team.
What do you hope to bring to the Sparks outside of your contributions in the stat sheet?
Essence: You can expect to see poise, a sense of calmness out there on the court, I try to be the glue that keeps the team together.